Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Cardinal Expert Picks with Odds and Predictions
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Cardinal, Saturday Nov. 25, 8 p.m. ET
This game isn't all it could be because both teams have had some disappointing losses this year. There is no shot - even an outside one - at a playoff berth to play for. But there are still big things on the line this weekend for both teams. If Notre Dame wins they would all but certainly lock up a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game. They are also looking to shake the monkey off their back while playing in Palo Alto. They haven't won at Stanford since 2007 and have lost six of eight against the Cardinal overall. Stanford is playing only for pride in this one - and perhaps the Heisman candidacy of Bryce Love. But at the same time as this game is being played Washington and Washington State will kick off for the Apple Cup. If Washington wins then Stanford heads to the Pac-12 title game, but if Washington State wins then they are playing USC for the title.
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Notre Dame at Stanford Betting Storylines
The Irish were in the midst of a very good season, but the last three weeks have not been kind to them. Externally, their loss to Georgia by a single point at home was devalued after Auburn crushed the Bulldogs. And the last three weeks have not been very flattering on the field, either. Notre Dame looked rough in beating Wake Forest, were absolutely humiliated by Miami in one of the more shockingly lopsided games of the season, and struggled to get past a Navy squad which is a long way from the peak of their game. From playoff contender to a team that looks out of gas in less than a month. They need to find a way to get back on track.
What we shouldn't expect here is a lights-out passing showdown. Neither team is particularly good against the pass defensively, so there would be an opportunity for a good passing team to do some damage. But Notre Dame ranks 109th nationally in passing, and Stanford is only somewhat better in 97th. Passing is all but irrelevant here. Really, it's all about rushing -- and hopefully all about two guys. Notre Dame's Josh Adams and Stanford's Bryce Love are two of the very best running backs in the country this year, and they are the focus of both team's offenses. Love has struggled to stay healthy, and his status isn't clear for this game - which makes it tough to get a sense of what to really expect from a betting perspective - but it has the potential to be a thriller. To add to the potential for excitement, neither team is particularly stout defending the run - Notre Dame is slightly better but still allows 153.3 yards per game. Neither team should have too much trouble establishing their ground game and they shouldn't be too worried about having a varied offense. Run early and run often - that's what the playbooks will be this week - even if Love is indeed hurt.
I put a whole lot of stock into the quality of coaching in college football, and by my eyes there is a serious disparity. David Shaw is stable and excellent. Brian Kelly is volatile and hard to get behind. Huge edge to Stanford on that front.
Notre Dame at Stanford Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened in a range between 1.5 and 2.5 points, with Notre Dame favored. Regardless of where it started, it has generally settled at two at this point in early betting. Two-thirds of bets have been on Notre Dame, so we could see line movement to the key number of three if things don't change. The total has opened at 57.
The Irish are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning home records and 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games played in November. They are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win. The Cardinal are 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games following an ATS loss. They are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine following a straight up win.
Notre Dame at Stanford Predictions and Picks
Stanford is a home underdog against a struggling team that they have consistently beaten in recent years? Sign me up. I don't have a lot of love for either offense, and I would be concerned if Love can't go at all, but I certainly don't think that the Irish have done enough lately to justify being favored here. Stanford is the pick against the spread.
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